There are 174,000 veterans in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, including people who have served in the Reserves and the National Guard. Only San Diego exceeds Long Island in the percentage of veterans among adult citizens. Some 7,000 Long Islanders have served in the Armed Forces since September 2001.
Although Long Island has no active duty bases, 11 different units of the Army and Air National Guards, and the Army, Naval and Marine Reserves are based here. Many Long Islanders, of course, serve in Guard and Reserve units based in other parts of the state.
Starting during the summer, a group called Education Reform Now Advocacy Committee sent a series of mailers to voters, pumping Senator Craig Johnson for “fighting for the education our kids deserve,” and “fighting for our kids’ education.” Most voters probably assumed that this was about support for public school districts. Actually, this group is an advocacy committee for charter schools. Made me wonder why this group had to be so evasive if their cause was so just. By October, the group’s mailings thanked Senator Johnson for rooting out government waste, investing in green technologies and other activities that don’t seem directly related to education.
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
That quote is from the 1912 platform of the National Progressive Party, formed by supporters of Theodore Roosevelt, resident of Oyster Bay and the man for whom our Nassau County executive and legislative building is named. Even if you don’t agree with that statement, wouldn’t it be refreshing, engaging, even exciting to hear any major political force in this country talk like that today? In one short paragraph, you’ve got intrigue, courage, idealism and even a tip of the hat to the importance of wisdom and diplomacy in government. Statesmanship. One of America’s lost values.
1. “We Do Our Part.” Saw that National Recovery Agency motto and blue eagle logo in the opening credits of a couple of old movies on Turner this week. In 1933, 1934 and 1935, that eagle meant that your company was voluntarily adopting new rules for hour limits, minimum wages and production standards to help stabilize markets and stop the downward spiral of salaries. The New Deal was about balancing the scales between business, labor and farmers. It was about cooperative effort and mutual sacrifice to right the country.
There is no Easter Bunny, there is no Santa Claus, and the American Revolution, including the actual Boston Tea Party, was not just about taxes.
Set the Wayback Machine to the 1760s. The English Empire fought a world war to decide, once and for all, who would get the really good stuff in North America. In Europe they call this the Seven Years War, even though it really lasted nine years, and in the United States we call this the French and Indian War, even though the French and Indians both lost. The English won, but in fighting an extended war in a developing country thousands of miles away, they virtually bankrupted their government. It seemed to his Majesty’s government that the colonies should pay back the crushing debt in gratitude for not having to eat croissants and odd cheeses.
1. Several political races still undecided, possibly for weeks. Most of us are still decompressing from the assault on our senses and our inner peace by ugly, negative, generic and boring campaigns. Let’s keep it light for now with a few random thoughts.
1. As of the moment this is being written, Republicans have won 30 out of the 62 State Senate seats. In three districts, including the 7th Senate District here in Nassau County, results are close enough that it will take until about Thanksgiving to know with certainty which candidate received the most votes. The smart money in Albany is on Republicans ending up with a 32-30 majority, and it is still possible for there to be a 31-31 tie.
From January through June of this year, according to RealtyTrac, over 7,000 homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties received mortgage foreclosure notices. In Nassau County, that’s one out of every 166 homes. Put another way, the 2,758 households that received filing notices are more families than live in at least 45 of the county’s 64 incorporated villages. Though some neighborhoods have been hit especially hard, this wave of foreclosures has affected families in every single school district, ZIP code, village and income level.
Lake Success was haunted by evil spirits and by some weird and terrible creature that dragged people down to its bottomless depths. The ghosts of the drowned walked the lake shore at night. Workers on the Vanderbilt Estate fled after some were grabbed by the leg and pulled into the marshes. The Indians had called it, “The Gateway to Hell.”
1. Thousands of people reading this have already voted by absentee ballot. Most others have already decided in their own minds whether or not they will vote at all on November 2. From this point on, campaigns in competitive races are playing the margins
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Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org